Juice Fast Progress

Thursday, June 01, 2006



I did my last dialog today! I ROCKED IT OUT!!! I delivered it as the teacher I'm going to be, and already am, and it was strong and powerful and confident and enthusiastic as all hell. I'm barely scraping by in yoga classes, and had to leave the room due to cramping today in Craig's class (which did not contain an awkward competition, thank god). It's so disappointing to leave the room, even when I know I'm not being mentally weak. Seriously, EVERYTHING in my body hurts.

The day began with a dark cloud still sorta hanging over the studio and most of the students, people still uneasy about what happened last night. I found I was not the only person whose opinion flipped back and forth with contemplation. In the end, I agree with Bikram's attitude of refusing to allow fear or panic to enter the situation, and to minimize whatever fear and panic did arrive. I also agree that it was important that he remain in charge of the class, forcefully. Otherwise there would have been two hundred people panicking instead of just one. However, I disagree with the lack of caution, and think it's important to note that if John or Craig or the other staff had actually followed Bikram's instructions and moved John, it would indisputably have made things worse. Also, Bikram insisted throughout the event that John's hip was not dislocated, and in the end it was fully dislocated. I think it's important to note that he was wrong, and that his lack of caution could have made things worse.

John's okay. He has no serious damage, was discharged from the hospital, and is going to visit us tomorrow before he goes back to New York.

We had a lecture with Rajashree this afternoon, after our preposterously difficult morning class. People were still very serious and frowny, and Rajashree kinda was also - she was all business. But then, at some point, kind of out of the blue, Rajashree just started laughing about the hip thing from last night. She said she was talking to Craig and they were a bit shaken - they were talking about how, "Isn't this yoga supposed to HELP us? Why did Bikram hurt his back? Why did John hurt his leg?". But, then she said they realized that injuries happen, and it doesn't invalidate the health benefits of what we're doing. I had to come to a similar realization when I hurt my knee by going too carelessly into Toe Stand a few months after I had started this Yoga. Once Rajashree started laughing a lot, everybody did, and it seemed like the cloud lifted. Then Craig taught the most kick-ass evening class, and despite the fact that I had to leave, it was a really energizing class. I feel so much better than I did yesterday, despite dreading tomorrow's yoga classes.


Ooooph. Just... Wow.

The last few days have been overwhelming, in every sense. Bikram's house party was nice, but fairly uninteresting. His house was definitely more of a "house" than a "palatial mansion", up on a hill in Beverly Hills. Really, nothing much happened. We ate indian food - saw people in their nice clothes. I was in a weird mood, quiet and antisocial and sad, without a really clear idea why.

Today was frightening. One of the visiting teachers, who taught a fantastic class last night, has just recovered from a total hip replacement surgery. His surgery was six and a half weeks ago. Today, for reasons unknown (but probably related to the repeated insistence that this yoga cures everything), he decided to first do the advanced class with Emmy at 12:30 and then to do the regular class with us at 5:00, taught by Bikram. I was about two rows behind him, and just a bit to the right - maybe ten or twelve feet. So I had a really good view and was within earshot when, in standing head to knee, his hip completely dislocated. POP. Followed by shreik, and scream, and tears. The class was shocked and frozen, and Bikram reacted very unexpectedly (actually, in retrospect, not unexpectedly).

He yelled at John to stop crying, to calm down, to stop panicking. He never left the podium. John's femur was visibly sticking out of his hip girdle, his leg twisted. Bikram made him turn around on his back, do wind removing pose, flex and point his feet - all while the paramedics were one their way. All the while, yelling at him to stop panicking, that fear was the biggest enemy, that he must be calm. I was fucking terrified. I actually had to lay down and not watch the proceedings after awhile. I couldn't believe how hard Bikram was pushing John, how he was showing no compassion of any kind - and even more - he was lashing out angrily at anyone who was attempting to intervene on John's behalf. The paramedics came, took him to the hospital, and class continued. Oh - it's worth noting that Bikram continued class through most of this, having us do standing bow pulling and balancing stick over John's body while he was weeping to Bikram's commands. A few hours later, during a Bikram lecture, we learned that John had been heavily sedated and after a "few tries" they managed to relocate his femur into his hip bone without surgery. Thank god.

Bikram lectured to us later in the evening about having total strength, not allowing fear to have even the tiniest foothold, and to be a total leader - especially in situations where fear is likely to occur. I couldn't help but think, through all of this, that faced with a similar situation, I know I would not have reacted with Bikram's ferocity. I think I would have kept my shit together and handled the situation okay, but I would not have been able to be that strong. And, I'm not sure I would want to be - I still feel like there should have been more caution displayed - if John had actually tried to stand up, or if we had lifted him, as Bikram suggested (but Craig refused - he is truly a hero), it would have DEFINITELY made things worse. I don't like the feeling of questioning Bikram to this extent, and it makes me feel doubt of the rest of the training.

I feel like, at the moment, this evening's drama and scariness are overshadowing the staggering awesomeness of the other guest lecturers we had this week, but I'll try to describe them so I don't forget.

We were visited first by Dr. Anne Marie Benstrom, who Bikram insists is the only person in the world that he defers to in matters of eastern and yogic philosophy. As usual, I sat in the front row, and she was, for lack of a more imaginitive word, TRIPPY AS HELL. She talked about the chakric system, energy in the body, the persistence of our spiritual energy beyond the death of the body, and towards the end, she described her system of "body reading". It involves looking at the posture of the body in resting state, along with the basic shape of the developed body, and talking about different aspects of the person's life based on their body. The central idea of "the body is crystallized emotion, or coagulated thought" was a very strong recurrent theme. The body reading seemed hokey, except that she had people stand up and she told them their entire life and emotional and familial history, with freakish accuracy, causing one person to start crying immediately. She spoke to me directly a few times, and much like Amrit Desai, I felt very electrified and stilled by her eyes and contact with me. A lot of what she spoke about was out of my experience (seeing energy fields, "orbs"), but like most of this experience, I tried to absorb it and tuck it away for later, when I have more experiences to bring to my understanding. More about Dr. Benstrom: The Ashram .

Today, before the drama, we were also visited by Dr. Mani Bhaumik, a physics professor who coinvented a particular kind of laser and who has spent the last many years of his life using rigorous scientific analysis to understand and share his understanding of eastern philosophical ideas, particularly energy, oneness of all beings, and life force. This lecture was AWESOME. He was TOTALLY unfruity, completely logical and succinct (didn't say "ah" or "um" the whole lecture). He described, in surprising detail for his audience, quantum fields and how they fluctuate througout the universe, and how they interact to form the building blocks of matter and energy, of which we are constructed. He introduced a magnificent idea, which I was so thrilled by - just as every cell in our body - every single cell - contains a copy of our DNA, so every "cell" in the universe contains a copy of that blueprint from which the universe itself was created. He described how the behavior of energy at the sub, sub atomic level in matter exactly mimics the conditions that would have existed at the very beginning of the universe, just after the big bang. This lecture was magnificent, and I felt like so many of my fundamental questions about energy and "chi" just fell into place. I feel like I should let Dr. Bhaumik speak for himself: Code Name God .

This has been a hard week so far - possibly the hardest. Still, only 14 yoga classes left, and then, graduation. (thank god!!!).

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Imagine "Rocky" Theme Song

Sunday, end of Week 7, 10:45 pm:

1:07 - first try
1:07 - second try (without having countdown! weird)
1:10 - third try
hour rest
1:39 - fourth try (shifted weight slightly, turned off tv and iTunes)

I will not go softly into that good night.

Oh, IT'S ON.

Craig announced in Friday's evening class that sometime in the next two weeks we will have an "Awkward 2-off". I know it's not really the point of all of this to be competing and being macho, unnecessarily, but...


The current record is (staggeringly), TWO MINUTES AND FORTY FIVE SECONDS. I have absolutely no idea if I can do this, but I think I can. There's just one problem, one thing standing in my way. My fellow trainee, Kathy (Cathy?), who is a former national triathlon champion and also the female winner of the IronMan Hawaii Triathlon. (Kathy Kinz-Smith, if you're one of those searchy people...). She's relentlessly focused and disciplined and a NATIONAL TRIATHLON CHAMPION. She's light, has very little body fat, highly trained muscles, and presumably perfect focus. She informed me this evening, in a little fun bit of smack-talking, that she will not be allowing me to win, under any circumstances. She's already practicing at home to hit three minutes.

Fortunately, I'm not too wound up about this. I'm determined to give it everything I've got, and know when it's done that I did all I could do. But, I know I have a lot of muscle mass and a somewhat heavy body. I also know that I've only been training for a comparatively short time and that winning contests isn't the reason I'm doing this. So, if I lose, I don't think I'll be too disappointed. And if I win... heh heh... I'll be unable to walk for a day or two.

Two minutes and forty five seconds. Jesus. Okay. Bring it on. Go go gadget thighs. Wish me luck, y'all.